Nahum Manbar

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Nahum Manbar is an Israeli arms dealing convicted of chemical weapons trading with Iran.

Manbar who was born on a kibbutz near Hadera left Israel in the 80s with the law close behind him after being convicted of fraud. He then worked as a weapons dealer including brokering Soviet-sponsored transactions with Iran. These and other crimes were committed between 1990 and 1994 even after he had been warned to stop his contacts with Iran and had repeatedly promised to do so.
In 1997 the Tel Aviv District Court convicted Manbar of signing a contract with the Iranian government to supply it with know-how and chemicals for its military effort and to help establish factories to produce chemical weapons. He received $ 16 million in return.[1]

Israeli Intelligence connection

In 2001, The Israeli newspaper Haaretz succeeded in obtaining a partial release of documents from Manbar's trial, which showed 'failures in coordination between the various intelligence and law enforcement agencies involved.'

According to the documents, the Mossad knew that Manbar and his partner at the time, Amos Kotzer, who holds a brigadier general's rank in the Israel Defense Forces, tried selling conventional weapons to Iran - and the spy service did nothing to stop it. Shabtai Shavit, who as head of the Mossad initiated the operation against Manbar in 1992, said in court that there was talk inside the service about recruiting Manbar, but Shavit turned down the idea immediately, saying his motives were also "emotional." "In all my 32 years of service in the agency I never saw such a serious case of an Israeli betraying Israeli laws," said Shabtai. An Israeli who worked for Manbar in Europe - dubbed D. in most of the documents, but occasionally refered to as Doron - was living in London as a student when approached by Manbar with an offer of a partnership...
... D. eventually was singled out by the Mossad, which pressured him to betray Manbar, and in the process, D. met K., also known in the transcripts as Kashishtof and Kristof, a Polish chemical technician who began working for Manbar in 1989. For six years, K. ran Manbar's business in Poland, involving meetings Manbar held with Dr. Majoud Abaspour, who headed Department 105 in the Iranian Defense Ministry, responsible for the manufacturing of chemical weapons. [2]

US informed

Shavit, at one point in his testimony, reported that in 1993 there was already "intelligence proof" of Manbar's dealings with the Iranians, and he went to then premier Yitzhak Rabin with the evidence. Rabin decided to update the U.S. on the Manbar case, lest U.S. intelligence uncover the Manbar case on its own and think the Israelis were behind it. Rabin told Shavit to arrange for an Israeli law enforcement official to warn Manbar the next time the businessman reached Israel, to cease all his activities with the Iranians." [3]

MI6 connection

Former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson claimed Manbar's deals were authorised by the British and Israeli governments in order to infiltrate the Iranian WMD programme:

Manbar is appealing against the sentence and a key part of his defence is based on testimony from Tomlinson claiming that MI6 and Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, were involved in these top secret operations.
According to an Israeli newspaper his statement claims the British and Israeli intelligence agencies authorised Manbar to proceed with the chemical weapons deals in order to slip operatives into the Iranian government.
After returning from undercover MI6 work in Moscow and Bosnia, Tomlinson began work at the agency's 'counter proliferation division' aimed at stopping enemy states getting their hands on weapons of mass destruction.
MI6 was aware of the network run by the flamboyant millionaire Manbar, which was supplying the chemicals to a plant being built outside Tehran.
The British agency believed this was connected to an attempt by Mossad to help free the captured Israel pilot Ron Arad who was shot down over Lebanon and believed to be held in Iran.[4]


  1. Spy for Iran denied parole, by Rebecca Anna Stoil. Jerusalem Post, 29 August 2007.
  2. MANBAR'S EX-EMPLOYEES HELPED CONVICT HIM, Haaretz, 30 January 2001.
  3. MANBAR'S EX-EMPLOYEES HELPED CONVICT HIM, Haaretz, 30 January 2001.
  4. British agents helped Iran to make killer gas, Antony Barnett, Yvonne Ridley and Shraga Elam, Observer 13 June 1999.